News

The Co-operative Bank's disgraced former chairman, Paul Flowers, apparently won the job because he beat his rivals' psychometric test scores, MPs on the Treasury Committee have been told.

Investors stash $6 trillion in hedge funds and PE

The value of assets held by hedge funds, private-equity firms and real-estate fund managers reached $6trn (£3.6trn) last year as investors regained their appetite for risk.

Third Point takes significant shareholding in Dow Chemical

Third Point, the hedge fund run by activist investor Daniel Loeb, has taken a significant shareholding in Dow Chemical and is urging the company to explore a spin off of its petrochemical business so it can concentrate on being a specialty chemicals firm.

Alternative assets industry hits £6 trillion mark

The value of assets held by hedge fund, private equity and real estate fund managers reached $6 trillion (£3.6 trillion) last year as investors regained their appetite for risk.

Tom Sandell urges FirstGroup to reassess 'premature' break-up rejection

Billionaire activist investor Tom Sandell has accused the £1.7 billion transport group of a “premature” rejection of its break-up plans for the business.

Richard Desmond

Man Group denies it misled Richard Desmond over 'incomprehensible' deal

Hedge fund giant Man Group has brushed off Richard Desmond's £20 million High Court claim for losses on a financial product, insisting it did not even act as the counter-party in the disputed transaction.

In Brief: Australia extends Serco Christmas Island deal

Australia extends Serco Christmas Island deal

Serco, the outsourcing giant which repaid £68.5m to the UK Ministry of Justice last week, has received a vote of confidence from the Australian government. It has extended Serco’s contract with its border protection department to run 17 detention centres in the country’s mainland and on Christmas Island.

US regulators seek $1.1m from former Goldman trader Fabrice Tourre

America’s Securities and Exchange Commission has taken former Goldman Sachs London banker Fabrice 'Fabulous' Tourre to court demanding $1.1 million (£674,000) in fines and other penalties for his role in a failed mortgage-backed securities deal which cost investors $1 billion.

Rule to curb risky trades by banks in US is finally passed

Nearly four years after President Obama first proposed curbs to rein in the risky bets on Wall Street, US regulators have finally ratified a strict new regime aimed at stopping banks from making speculative trades that could cause another meltdown.

Tom Hodgkinson: Who arrives at the door when the pig has been killed? The Methodist minister

Around 10 years ago, I opened an account with the Co-operative Bank. I was attracted by its policy of not lending money at excessive rates of interest to the very poor and staying out of the way of arms deals and the like. It seemed by far the best of a bad bunch in the sense that it appeared to have morals. At around the same time, in a feeble anti-capitalist campaign, I joined the Phone Co-operative and an energy supplier called Ecotricity, which apparently supplies its power via windmills.

Co-operative Bank loses customers after Paul Flowers scandal

The Co-operative Bank has admitted for the first time it is losing customers after a series of scandals including alleged drug-taking by former chairman Paul Flowers.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Hedge funds, the Tories’ cash cow, eagerly repay favours

A measure in George Osborne’s 2013 Budget which made no headlines outside the financial pages was the abolition of stamp duty reserve tax on UK-domiciled asset management funds. That may not sound like an attention grabber, but it was manna for Britain’s hedge-fund bosses, who by the Government’s estimate saw £145m drop off their companies’ collective annual tax bill.

MPs summon corporate advisers to explain their valuations of Royal Mail

A group of the City’s best-known corporate advisers has been summoned to appear before a committee of MPs to discuss the price at which Royal Mail was floated on the London Stock Exchange last month.

MPs have voiced fresh concern that the Government's controversial privatisation of the Royal Mail

Royal Mail flotation: MPs voice fresh concern over controversial privatisation

An Early Day Motion has been tabled in Parliament calling on the Coalition to review its decision

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'